Step Back from Black Friday

Through, I can shop online and check out their lightning deals while simultaneously writing this blog post!   If I can manage to hold off until 9:50 pm, these animal fur lobers will be available for 35 dollars.   Later today, I can battle holiday traffic and hit Aeropostale and–get this–60% off everything in the store.  I can also spend 65 dollars at Victoria’s Secret today to get a limited edition tote bag.    I could have spent time at Target on Thanksgiving Day, starting at 9 am, browsing the aisles pre-meal preparation or staggering around in a food coma later at night.

Like many of our big holidays, it’s a shame how much our consumer culture has come to inundate Thanksgiving.   I dislike shopping to begin with, and I dislike excessive consumerism, so for me, Black Friday is the worst.  THE WORST.  I have no problem with exchanging gifts, but at some point the sheer unsustainability and madness surrounding this materialistic frenzy must make us pause.

Let’s stop and think about why we have Thanksgiving.  For most people, it’s traditionally about family coming together, abundance, and giving thanks.  We’ve got the first celebration in 1621 in Massachusetts Bay Colony as a heartwarming reminder of the  potential of the human spirit, unity, and survival of our early colonists.  However, did you know that Thanksgiving became “more official” after the Pequot Indian massacre of 1637?  The Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony declared A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children.  They don’t teach us this in elementary school; it muddles a more tidy version of American History.   This was 16 years after the first feast in 1621. 

Since then, we’ve seen parades, football, the start of the Christmas season, and hoards of shoppers become a part of our national tradition.

Let’s think about why Thanksgiving is one of the few times of the year families make an effort get together for a big meal.  Let’s think about who isn’t able to enjoy massive portions of Thanksgiving staples and post-meal naps.  Let’s think about where our food comes for such a feast.  Lastly, let’s challenge our collection obsession with stuff.

For some people, giving and receiving gifts is a manifestation of love, so if you know somebody would truly appreciate the Victoria’s Secret limited edition tote bag, more power to you–go spend the 65 dollars at the mall today.  I suspect that for many people, however, Black Friday is seen as a challenge and a thrill, an opportunity to accumulate as many great deals as possible, regardless of whether or not the products will be needed or appreciated.

Does the consumer frenzy surrounding holidays bother you?  Do you or your family have any unique Thanksgiving traditions?  Do you partake in Black Friday shopping, in person or online?


  1. Hah! You couldn’t pay me to get near a store on Black Friday. I pick up little things throughout the year and usually don’ t have to do much shopping in Nov/Dec. I prefer to cook for people and spend time laughing and catching up. Blessings!

  2. I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling a little disgusted with this madness. lol But the more people who change their consumer habits, the better our society will become. Keep on preaching from the hilltop!

  3. Thanks for the kind words Melody!
    The last time I lived in Europe was during college, and I’d say your assessment has some merit. I remember one of my British roommates exclaiming how he couldn’t get over the American mindset of “more, more, and more.”
    Wal-Mart supposedly brings up the standard of living (as measured by material goods) for millions of Americans. But at what cost to the environment, lifestyle, etc.?
    Have a great rest of the break.

  4. Black Friday is a reflection upon our society. We give thanks on one day for all that we have and on the next day we go gather more! Don’t take this next comment wrong, I love being an American for so many reasons, but when we lived over in Europe I liked the lifestyle much better. We had less and enjoyed each other more. It was more about the people and less about getting things and getting ahead. I really feel that Walmart is the down fall of our culture. I was sad to see they were opening their doors on Thanksgiving day.

    To not end on a sad note, we do gather with family on Thanksgiving and go around the table telling what each of us is thankful for in the past year. I personally love to watch the Macy’s Day Parade and then the Westminster Dog Show while I cook the meal. It is a day for staying home and enjoying each other.

    I am thankful for your blog. You really help me reflect on so many different topics. 🙂

  5. Amen to that. Thanksgiving is a time for family. It should not be a spring board to the madness of consumer hype and crazed spending.

  6. Great comments and perspective! I have ONE annual Black Friday excursion… to the local Lowe’s to get a year’s supply of the enviro-friendly fireplace logs that fit perfectly in my fireplace (for occassional ambiance fires), at 35% discount. Otherwise, no frenzied shopping for me!

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